Eason hit by British Bookshops disposal

Eason hit by British Bookshops disposal

<p>Eason&#39;s failed foray into bookselling in Britain appears to have cost it heavily with the business making a loss of &euro;10.1m (&pound;8.29m) in 2009.</p><p><a href="http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/eason-in-sales-strategy-revamp-... to the Irish Independent</a>, the book chain posted the loss in the 12 months to the end of January 2010. The paper said the loss was &quot;largely&quot; due to it selling the British Bookshops chain to investment firm Endless in 2009. Sales also fell 16.4% to &euro;313.6m (&pound;257.8m) during the same period.</p><p>However, the loss was a better performance than that in 2008 when it lost &euro;21.1m (&pound;17.3m) because of impairments to the value of its property portfolio.</p><p><a href="http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/frontofstore-reader-planning-on... an interview with the newspaper</a>, managing director Conor Whelan said the bookseller was implementing a new retail strategy during the next six to 12 months. He said: &quot;For shareholders, the light at the end of the tunnel is if we&#39;ve hit the bottom in terms of the declining property market and if we&#39;re at the bottom of the trading cycle and then moving forward, we&#39;re pointing to the core business being profitable and sustainable.&quot;</p><p>An online revamp is also mooted by Whelan but he concedes the retailer can never be a rival to Amazon. He adds the chain will focus more on children&#39;s books, travel, mind, body and spirit, adult and Irish authors. He said: &quot;We tend to focus quite heavily on new titles in our book sales, and on the mass market. I&#39;d like to see us develop more of a specialism around key categories.</p><p>&quot;We need to be less of a generalist and create more of a unique selling point around particular categories. Is that enough? Done the right way, and given the leading market position we hold, I think yes, it is.&quot;</p>